By Hollie McGowan
August 1-3, 2014
MERRITT, B.C. — Once again, Bass Coast outdid itself. From the vending to the art to the decor to the line-up, Bass Coast, only in its 6th year, reminded those of us that entered it’s festivals grounds that we had truly entered a festival that sets the bar tremendously high. Like kids in a candy store, we ran around for three days continuously blown away by an overflowing amount of prime festival culture. It’s nearly impossible to provide a list of the best when so much talent and creativity is coming at you from every angle. However, here are a few things from Bass Coast 2014 that stood out in my experience.
You know you’re in the presence of greatness when the existence of a single human being heavily outweighs the rest who stand within their vicinity. I’m talking about one person having so much gravitational pull that the rest of the crowd almost appears in a standstill. Beginning with a slow and epic build, dBridge filled the open field of the festival grounds with deep, dark drum and bass. Captain of his d ‘n b ship, he set us sailing through the underground of a new sound within the genre, one that is cleaner and more sophisticated. As he moved into the 2nd half of his set it went into even darker territory, one more reminiscent of the late 90s. Yet with such decisive mixing, he was able to blend both the new and the old. He was able to please those who revel in nostalgia while enticing others who came to hear something fresh. All in all, dBridge showed the audience at Bass Coast this year that drum and bass has really grown up and matured nicely with age.
2. The Librarian
Last year at Bass Coast, the lighta! crew encircled The Librarian with their lighters held high and made her an official member of their team. At that moment, Michael Red boastfully stated to everyone, “She built this city!” And this she certainly has. Going to see The Librarian is always a good decision no matter where or what venue. But at her own festival its guaranteed to be legendary. When it came time for her to grab the captain’s wheel at the main stage decks on Saturday night, she took us down into a heavy, low-frequency subterranean. With vibrations that fill one’s entire being, she had us in the palm of her hand and riding the heavy waves of bass music of the crunk, trap, and juke variety. Furthermore, with her dj posse onstage behind her, aerialists flying through the air beside her, and massive fanbase in front of her, the party was off the hook. A true badass gangster, this woman never ceases to amaze.
Taking us to the bottom of the dubstep sea, Headhunter, alias of Addison Groove, submerged us in the sounds of the genre’s classics. Heavy hitter after heavy hitter, he brought the crowd at the Pirate Radio Stage on Friday night of the festival on a journey back in time with a string of dubstep originals. Sandwiched nicely between Self Evident and Daega Sound, the line-up was a sequence of deep, dark, atmospheric grime and dubstep done in proper form.
Music critics across North America and Europe are right. Graze is currently some of Canada’s best to have recently emerged within the arena of electronic music. The duo, consisting of producers Adam Marshall and Christian (XI) Andersen, bring an elevated flavour of sound, one that is simplistic yet sophisticated. At the main stage on the Friday night of the festival, Graze revealed to Bass Coast their brand new live tech-house set. Working proficiently together, Marshall and Andersen carefully layered each sound flawlessly. When their ship cast off, it was smooth sailing down the river of refined tech-house from beginning to end. Furthermore, when Graze’s ship finally docked and it was Paleman’s turn to steer the boat. He too kept us afloat on the cool waters of well-developed electronic sound.
5. DJ Cure
Ah, Cure. He’s so gangster it’s ridiculous. Almost over the top, but in the best way possible. With vigorous builds and heavy drops, Cure played for the crowd at the Slay Bay Stage on Saturday night some of the filthiest of breaks, grime, juke/footwork, and all things within the gauntlet of bass music made with attitude. In true Cure form, he kept the bodies on the dancefloor jumping, heads banging, and the hype sky high. DJ Cure, you so crazy.
6. Twerkshop/Lighta! Reggae Jam
The weekend Twerkshop put on by the Light Twerkers has become a Bass Coast attendee favourite, and this year the booties were poppin’ like never before. One attendee described his experience by stating, “When I dropped to the floor twerking with my ass up, I couldn’t tell who was grinding it or holding lighters to it, but I could feel and hear (that) there were quite a few.” After the Light Twerkers’ Twerkshop, the crowd tried their new moves out at the lighta! Reggae Jam, another event that has garnered a special place in Bass Coaster hearts. Witnessing them play together as a family is always a worthy endeavour and in the Slay Bay booth Saturday, they kept the reggae pulse going at a healthy pace.
7. Sunday Soul Session with DJ K-Tel
DJ K-Tel’s Sunday Soul Sessions is another regular Bass Coast never-fail. There is rarely, if ever, a bad time for funk and this year the Bass Coast crowd got up to get down at the Slay Bay Stage on Sunday. With a glide in his stride and a dip in his hip, K-Tel rinsed out many classic faves with remixes sprinkled throughout his set to a crowd of smiles and wiggling booties. Sunshine, river, water floaties, cold beverages, funk… Need I say more?
8. Respect for Canadian Indigenous Culture/Ban on the Native American Headdress
This year, one of the things that Bass Coast will be most remembered for is its stance on issues surrounding the use of First Nations headdresses at outdoor music festivals. As the opening of the gates and time to rumble grew closer, Bass Coast declared its message to the public by placing a ban on wearing them within the domains of the festival. This sent rippling effects out to various publications across the planet which made a strong impact on the festival community and electronic music listeners worldwide. Furthermore, the show put on by Tribe Called Red also left a lasting impression on many of Bass Coast 2014’s attendees. There’s something to be said about watching a Native American hoop dancer perform alongside a DJ crew consisting of three members that represent First Nations from your own country. Serious props to you, Bass Coast, for honouring those who have been dancing on this land long before our European ancestors ever were.
9. The Women Working Within the Scene
And by that I mean seriously working! Like, in all ways. Bass Coast is not only founded by women, but consistently brings a ton of really great female DJs to the table. These women are not picked simply because they are women either; their talent is what secures their spot on the roster. From the ladies of house to dancehall to drum and bass and beyond, these fierce felines showed a proper gamut of electronic sound and festival style. A few special moments included Tank Gyal opening the main stage on friday with accompaniment by Honey Laroche repping the hip hop and reggae vibes, Isis Graham bringing the deep, soulful house, and crazy girl, Blondtron, rocking the main stage on Saturday and getting audience members to throw down on the subwoofers. Special tip of the hat out to Jubilee for her fun-loving house music and vibes; a genuine, heartfelt crowd pleaser with style both on deck and as a performer. If Bass Coast is the new meeting place for electronic pirate crews, then these women are some serious sea wenches to be reckoned with.
10. The Calgary House Music Scene
It’s really good! No, like really! Calgary may be known for its proficiency with cowboy hats and the Stampede, but for those of us who follow what’s happening within the world of Canadian electronic music, Calgary is home to some of the best house in the country. Every year, the strong ties between Calgary and the West Coast bring many of the city’s finest out to the Pacific Northwest festival scene to debut their latest in mixing and production. And this year at Bass Coast, there was no shortage of Calgary talent. With appearances by members of Homebreakin Records, TheRinseOut Crew, Girls On Decks, and those associated with Hifi Club, the festival was overflowing with a wide variety of house subgenres. Long live Cowtown’s four to the floor.B.C., Bass Coast 2014, dBridge, DJ Cure, DJ K-Tel, Graze, Headhunter, Merritt, The Librarian, Twerkshop/Lighta!